24 October, 2008

Looking 4 the only sister I ever had MONA MUHAMBIYA


There was always war going on in my country people were fighting all the time and it seems like a normal thing because there was nothing people can do, we all got used to it.

My name is Nora Muhambiya I am the first born at home, we are the family of four. It’s me and my Mother Garuna, my father Welli and my little sister Mona she is 7 years old and I am 15. My family is always together we are never apart. My mother always says that we might not have everything that we wanted but if we have one another that is the best wealth any one can ever wish for, so my little sister was my friend. We played together all the time in any case there was no one we could play with because of the war that was happening. My mother was a house wife but she loved doing art work and beading as for my father he was working in a farm and we were going to school.


It was a very beautiful day the sun was shining, for a while we were happy enjoying the day. The day was peaceful the was no noise of guns shots, people were all sitting outside, chatting to neighbors.

Suddenly we had this huge helicopter noise and people were screaming and shouting, then the was chaos every where the were bombs thrown at us, the soldiers were shooing at people. My mother was shot immediately in the stomach, my father was trying to reach out to her, and then he was shot in the left leg. I was so confused I did not know what to do my parents were shouting for us to run and find some place to hide but the was no place where we can hide to, my sister would not let go of my mother because she was bleeding badly in the stomach and she was begging us to run. So when we finally ran the were shootings and I lost my sister.

I tried to look out for her but bombs and gun shot were too powerful and people would not let me go. And that was the last time I saw my mother and my father and my little sister Mona.


The next morning all those who survived went out to search for our loved ones, but the was nothing that we could see because many people were burnt and it was too horrible and painful to look. So we all decided to leave the country.

We went days barefoot with no food we tried hiking cars but the was no luck, then suddenly this huge truck gave us a hike. We all wanted to go to some other parts of Africa but others were hading to America and that is were I also landed.


My life changed completely that day, it my first time being separated from my family, from Mona. I had no one but my self, it was so hard because I could not speak English I only new my home language Xhosa. Everyday I would think of my sister if she had survived or not and what had happen to her.

As days got by I manage a bit I started to learn to speak English and got my self a job. Things were getting better by the day, I was starting to come to terms that my parents were dead and It would never be the same again. Strangely I would have these weird dreams about my mother calling my sister’s name and saying “she needs you go and look for her”. I used to ignore this dream but it would come back every night.


I had already got used to this part of the chapter of my life and accepted that its all up to the end, but then I met this charming American guy Shaun, he was very supportive and very loving. It was my birthday I was turning 25 and Shaun had birthday plans for me, then surprisingly he proposed and I accepted his proposal.

I was very happy everything was a dream coming true, but now my dream about my mother was becoming too serious even if I was just taking a nap. So I decide to consult my fiancé about this so we decide that I should go back to Africa and search for Mona.


I did not know where to start but I decided to back to Rwanda and find out if they might know anything about people who survived and what happen to kids that were homeless on 12 may 1970. The search for Mona was important to me because I also wanted someone to give me my blessing in my wedding and accept my husband to our part of family and most all to reunite with my only sister.

I was told that all the kids and women who had survived were deported to Zambia. So I went to Zambia booked my self to a hotel I did not know how long my search was going to be.


In the hotel I was introduced to this lady her name Mandy she was a cleaner of the hotel she was maybe 15-17 years old and she was only going to cleaning my room. Mandy could not speak properly English so we did not have much conversation when she came to work in my room.

She was lovely she would greet with a smile, she adored my shoes every time she would look at them. This was fun because my sister would love to wear my shoes even though they were too big for her. So one day I ask her to try one of my shoe, the shoe was red with a diamond on top of it, the shoe was present from my fiancé, so she tried it on and the shoe fitted her perfectly.

A week after Mandy tried on my shoe the shoe went missing, so I got so furious because I trusted the girl so I went to the manager and reported this to him. Mandy was called in and she was asking about the shoe, then she knew nothing about the missing shoe, she was fired immediately.


The next day I was invited to the launch of the stop women abuse function every one was going to be there. I made a phone to Shaun telling about the function and that I still had no luck finding Mona and that the girl who used to come and clean my room stole the shoe that he bought for our first valentines and she got fired.

Apparently there was Mona’s friend in the sitting room and she was listening to my conversation with Shaun. After the phone call she came to me and told I that Mandy did not take my shoes and now she lost her job because of me and that she was saving the money to go varsity. When Elizabeth was talking to me I was busy playing with my bead necklace that my mother made for me and Mona, the necklace had Mona’s name and mine “Nora and Mona” mine was blue and white and Mona necklace was red and black. she ask me if the necklace was mine and I said yes and she just said “oh that’s strange”, then she said that all I wanted to say that Mandy did not take your shoe she is a very good person who has struggle a lot to get this job.


That night I prepare to go to the function and then deciding to go back to Chicago for my wedding preparations, because I was not succeeding in finding Mona. I went to the function when I got there Ms Dervan the assistant manager of the hotel was also there but she seems surprised to me there, after an while I saw her wearing the exact same shoes that went missing in the Hotel I knew my shoes very well so I ask if she was the one who took the shoes, at that point there was no denying anything.

By that time I was not feeling the mood of the function so I decided to go back to the hotel, so that I can prepare for my journey of going back to Chicago because that is where my life was at and I was failing to find Mona in my search. when I got to the hotel I kept on thinking about Mandy and what I have done to her, this also reminded me about my little sister when she was young she used to rely on me and how I let her down on that day.

I cried that night until I feel asleep, I dreamed about mama again but this time she said “everything is going to be alright and remember that wealth is not important than your family”.


The next morning I was ready to leave but my pride would not let me leave before apologizing to Mandy about my terrible mistake and doubting her innocence. So I went to the manager to ask for her address and telephone number, but sadly enough she was living in orphanage but moved when she got the job and stayed with friends and she does not have her contact number.

Well then I had already booked for my plane and I tried but could not succeed. so called a cab to come and pick me up and take me to the airport, my mind was already made up my flight was at 7:30 pm so everything was set and I was ready to leave what I came to do behind and go back to the future and become a new person Nora Shaun Wal and not Ms Muhambiya.


It seems Elizabeth recognize something in me as well to my sister that we both had same necklace written the same thing. And she over had me talking to Shaun about me not finding Mona, then add things out and that Mona had no parents and she had a sister who was in mid 20’s. Elizabeth went to hotel to come and tell me about my little sister and she was too late she was told that I have already left the hotel.

But she never gave up she rushed to the airport. She finally caught me she told all about Mona and she told me that she also has the same necklace that I have and the colors of her necklace. Immediately we went back to look for but she would not want to listen because of what I did by accusing her for stealing my shoes. Apparently Mandy was Mona all along.

Things started to settle down when I called her by her name Mona and she was stunned and ask me how do I know her name because no one knows her name accept her and her family, so I told her that you right I know your name because our mother Garuna and father Welli know that name and only her bad sister Nora knows the name so we hugged and cried.

I told her that I came to find her and I am sorry for what happen 10 years ago and that I need her to be with me for the rest of our lives and I told her about the dreams that I was having, apparently she was also having the same dreams. I told her about my engagement and that I needed a family blessing.

Mona and I went back to Chicago, but with the intentions of coming back to Rwanda and rebuild our family house and use it for children with no parents.

Written By: Thandiswa Mvani (South Africa)

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